Pressure equilibrium between the local interstellar clouds and the local hot bubble

S. L. Snowden, M. Chiao, M. R. Collier, F. S. Porter, N. E. Thomas, T. Cravens, I. P. Robertson, M. Galeazzi, Y. Uprety, E. Ursino, D. Koutroumpa, K. D. Kuntz, R. Lallement, L. Puspitarini, S. T. Lepri, D. McCammon, K. Morgan, B. M. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Three recent results related to the heliosphere and the local interstellar medium (ISM) have provided an improved insight into the distribution and conditions of material in the solar neighborhood. These are the measurement of the magnetic field outside of the heliosphere by Voyager 1, the improved mapping of the three-dimensional structure of neutral material surrounding the Local Cavity using extensive ISM absorption line and reddening data, and a sounding rocket flight which observed the heliospheric helium focusing cone in X-rays and provided a robust estimate of the contribution of solar wind charge exchange emission to the ROSAT All-Sky Survey 1/4 keV band data. Combining these disparate results, we show that the thermal pressure of the plasma in the Local Hot Bubble (LHB) is P/k = 10, 700 cm-3 K. If the LHB is relatively free of a global magnetic field, it can easily be in pressure (thermal plus magnetic field) equilibrium with the local interstellar clouds, eliminating a long-standing discrepancy in models of the local ISM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL14
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2014


  • ISM: bubbles
  • ISM: clouds
  • X-rays: ISM
  • X-rays: diffuse background
  • magnetic fields
  • solar neighborhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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